First Ground Up Driverless Vehicle To Be On Road in 2015

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Drucifer, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Oct 21, 2015 #61 of 663
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The more I drive the more I wonder "how would a computer handle that?". Assuming the computer will always follow the rules and the company will not want to take liability for any "gray area" maneuvers or difficult driving situations, I expect the "override" feature will be used often. The car companies will not want the liability.

    What is the point of an autonomous car when it still needs a driver to take control?

    There are a lot of legal issues to work out.
     
  2. Oct 21, 2015 #62 of 663
    billsharpe

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    Allowing computers to drive cars will give new meaning to the words "computer crash." :nono2:

    I have read that most accidents from driverless cars are caused by the other car. If we really want to avoid accidents all cars would have to be driverless.
     
  3. Oct 21, 2015 #63 of 663
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I thought the claim was "all". By definition the driverless car is following the rules so it cannot be at fault. If the speed limit is 35 it will drive 35.0000 MPH or less regardless of what other vehicles are doing. And regardless of what would be safer. The car company would not want the responsibility of intentionally operating at 35.1 MPH (or higher). That would be a liability. Or driving one inch left of the center line of a narrow two lane road ... despite that being safer than having tires right on the edge of the road. And if there is an accident it is the road's fault or another driver's fault ... never the car's fault.
     
  4. Oct 21, 2015 #64 of 663
    camo

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    I see way to many issues arising, like detours road construction, merge left, slow down to 15 mph etc. These cars will never replace the humans ability to reason or comprehend situations.
    I would rather see efforts put into love bots :heart: at least if failure arises its no different than real relationships nor unexpected.
     
  5. Oct 21, 2015 #65 of 663
    yosoyellobo

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    The car will more or less have the same leeway as anybody else. If everyone is going 36 MPH on a 35 MPH limit it will also go 36. If not I could see it become an early example a driverless car being destroy by an angry crowd fuel by road rage.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2015 #66 of 663
    Tom Robertson

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    Sounds like a lot of "Black/White" or "All or Nothing" thinking going on.

    The presumption that all rules must be followed equally isn't realistic. For instance, "do not cross the center line" is not an absolute, there are times when situations require one to carefully cross the center line: turns, lane closures and obstructions, kids jumping out into the street, for example. The driving system knows how to prioritize the rules for safety.

    I'm curious what other situations you've identified that the computer won't be taught to handle. Your first one, snow covering the lane and edge markers is a problem they have acknowledged. I know they will have a solution, though I don't know what it will be. A mixture of optical, laser, and radar sensors? Changes to the road surfaces in snowy climates? Even better GPS mapping?

    As for the legal issues, yes there will be some. Google, Tesla, GM, and the other car makers will lobby for changes. As will the insurance institute. They've pushed for many of the current safety regulations.

    Peace,
    Tom
     
  7. Oct 21, 2015 #67 of 663
    Tom Robertson

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    Navigation units already know how to handle road construction, detours, traffic slowdowns, etc. Those won't be a problem for autonomous cars.

    How many driving situations are truly new, never ever seen before? You might not have seen them, yet after 1.2 million miles, google has likely seen something like it. :)

    And they are adding the equivalent of a years worth of driving each week. Now, from what i understand, they aren't driving on highways yet. So they have a large range of situations to experience to go. Though they may have had cars watching human drivers on highways already. I haven't seen anything regarding there highway simulations.

    Peace,
    Tom
     
  8. Oct 21, 2015 #68 of 663
    phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Sigh...

    [​IMG]


    I didn't even get a chance to start a fight on the internet about "autonomous" but here's the definition again:

    [​IMG]

    I would invite others to look at the Thesaurus.com listing of synonyms and antonyms for "autonomous." Perhaps some can explain to me why they would really want an "autonomous" car - a term synonymous with self-governing, sovereign, free, self-determining, self-ruling, uncontrolled, as opposed to subservient, dependent, subject.

    Perhaps we should use some term like "unassisted" instead to reflect the state of the car's "operation", not its state of "being." Or maybe we actually mean to allow the cars on the road without even any supervision or control like other autonomous beings.
     
  9. Oct 21, 2015 #69 of 663
    dennisj00

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    Y, it's probably the wrong word. Probably something like AutoDrive or AutoCruise or even AutoPilot would be better.
     
  10. Oct 21, 2015 #70 of 663
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    They key word is "avoid" ... and while one's navigation unit may say "you are on the quickest route" staying between the barrels and off of the bumpers of the cars around you is all up to the driver.

    There will be some benefit to "self driving" cars ... but the pie in the sky all in buy in of the concept as if it will solve all of the world's problems is unrealistic. The reality is closer to "cruise control". A tool that will help in some situations ... not a be all end all solution that will take over driving to the point where nobody drives any more.

    Humans are too autonomous to leave ALL of the driving to machines. And too litigious to have car companies take all of the responsibility for the car's operation.


    It is illegal to drive 36 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. If I as a programmer tell my car that it is OK to violate the speed limit and set rules for when and where that can be done I open myself and my company up to liability. Any accident, whether caused by a car I programmed or not, where my car was speeding or crossed the center line or passed on a double yellow line or did anything else illegal will be blamed on my car and my programming. It doesn't matter if Google cars have 1.2 million miles of experience or 120 million miles when it comes down to liability. The car will be programmed to appease the lawyers.

    Two lane road ... no passing zone ... bicycle or pedestrian in the lane ahead. The only legal solution is to slow to the obstruction's speed until the end of the no passing zone (or until the obstruction has left the roadway). Will your lawyers allow you to teach your car to violate a no passing zone so you can pass the obstruction? I doubt my lawyers will let me take that risk. "I cannot advise you to violate any law."
     
  11. Oct 21, 2015 #71 of 663
    yosoyellobo

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    So you are saying that because of lawyers we will never have self driving cars.
     
  12. Oct 21, 2015 #72 of 663
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I am saying that the cars will be operated in the safest way possible to appease the lawyers.
    If the safest way possible to operate is to pull over and park, so be it.
     
  13. Oct 22, 2015 #73 of 663
    Tom Robertson

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    Fortunately innovators don't give up quite so easily. :)

    I'm pretty sure the cars won't be able to violate speed limits. There rarely is a sufficient reason to speed in the course of driving safely.

    As for the no-passing zone, I think that only applies to not passing a motor vehicle. Passing a pedestrian or bicycle in a no passing zone is not illegal. And since the self-driving cars won't cause an accident--there isn't a problem with their passing when it's safe. This is hardly a unique, once in a lifetime, the programmers will never have thought about it type problem. Nor is driving in a barrel marked lane, for that matter.

    I don't think anyone, other than you, is saying this "will solve all of the world's problems". We know there will be limitations that will be fewer and fewer all the time. And that there are plenty of other world problems to solve.

    And we know there are people who will fight technology and not use these cars. Ok. Each generation has their people who stick to their version of "would rather keep their horses and buggy whips." (Thanks, dennisj00). :)

    Peace,
    Tom
     
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  14. Oct 22, 2015 #74 of 663
    Beerstalker

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    I agree passing a pedestrian or bicyclist in a no passing zone is most likely legal, however, most states have laws like you have to be at least 3 feet away from them, etc etc. So being 3 feet away from them without crossing the solid yellow line is going to be pretty much impossible. My guess is that the auto driving car will not be willing to cross that solid yellow line, and it will instead slow down and stay behind the obstruction until you are outside of the no passing zone, or the obstruction decides to move over to the shoulder, etc.

    This brings up another one that I deal with all the time that I wonder how these cars will deal with. I pass farm implements on the road all the time, many times I have to drive off the road into the ditch etc in order to get past. I'm not just talking about passing vehicles going in the same direction, but vehicles coming from the opposite direction too. What are these vehicles going to do in these cases. My guess is pull over and stop until the farm equipment goes by if travelling in opposite directions, or refuse to pass them altogether if going in the same direction.
     
  15. Oct 22, 2015 #75 of 663
    phrelin

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    I hate to say this, but it sounds more and more like the discussion is about a literally "autonomous" mode of transportation. Might I suggest a horse? When i had a horse, it made all kinds of decisions for me, not always what I wanted it to do. That's why I prefer a car. [​IMG]
     
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  16. Oct 22, 2015 #76 of 663
    dennisj00

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    As an avid bicyclist (~4000 miles / year) I find there are two groups of drivers on rural roads. The first will follow you forever if there's a double yellow line, the second will pass no matter what.

    Actually, there's a third group, the rednecks that will honk, yell and throw stuff as they pass. GoPros help capture their license plate!

    There's also two classes of auto-drive cars. No controls, read taxis for urban areas that take you from point A to B without the creepy uber driver. Further in the future.

    The second, like Tesla's auto-drive with conventional controls that beeps if it needs your input. That one is pretty much available today.
     
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  17. Oct 22, 2015 #77 of 663
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    You think or you know? What would the car company's lawyer say? How much liability are they willing to accept.


    That is one of those overconfident pie in the sky statements that I am talking about. You and people who agree with you are so confident that computers are better drivers than people. And so dismissive of any issue that would stand in the way of self driving vehicles.


    Insulting comments aside, this is not about keeping the horses and buggy whips (although I'd like to see what a self driving car would do while passing a buggy). It is about accepting the limitations of the technology and not glossing over SERIOUS issues that face self driving vehicles.

    Speaking of buggys, I drive in an area of the country with a lot of horse drawn vehicles. I have learned how to safely pass these vehicles traveling in either direction (passing or meeting opposing traffic). My preferences for how to pass a buggy works. By your own standards my procedure must be good because I have never hit a buggy. No accident is proof of concept?

    However one day earlier this year I watched a semi truck hit a buggy and kill the horse. The driver of the semi operated his vehicle 100% within the law ... refusing to cross the center line to give the buggy extra room. The horse was spooked and had no room for error. A self driving car would probably make the same MISTAKE of operating 100% within the law and causing the death of the horse (perhaps the car passengers too since car vs horse has caused car passenger fatalities).

    It is only a matter of time until a self driving car is the cause of a death. Perhaps not legally at fault as in the incident described above, but still a death that DID NOT NEED TO OCCUR, You can happily blame the horse ... the witnesses can spend the rest of their lives trying to forget the sight of a dying horse. Driving is a serious task. Not a joke.
     
  18. Oct 22, 2015 #78 of 663
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I prefer a happy medium. Wait a safe distance back for an opportunity. Pass only when I know that it is safe and give the entire lane to the bicycle (or pedestrian or buggy). Not necessarily waiting for the end of the no-passing zones.


    That is what I expect for the near future (next decade or more). "Self drive" will be advanced cruise control with the car's human driver responsible (and liable) for the safe operation of the vehicle.
     
  19. Oct 22, 2015 #79 of 663
    phrelin

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    I'm reading here about the wonderfulness of the Tesla system. Actually we have this article Hands-off drivers post videos of swerving while testing out Tesla’s autopilot which offers several videos and notes:

    Road & Track in an earlier article with video noted in This Tesla Autopilot Close Call Shows We Need To Be Responsible With Autonomous Tech:

    The technology is experimental, "not yet ready for prime time." It's promising. But we're a long ways from "releasing the reins and giving the horse his head."

    :rant:
    The reason I object to the use of "autonomous" is that it is a misuse of a word for "hype"; it is not being used by researchers, but by the marketing types. The Steve Jobs approach was fine because in the end who gives a crap if an iPad doesn't work. But now we're maybe out there with real "angry birds" whose tree the nest with chicks was in just got knocked down because the "autonomous" vehicle just decided to drive off the road into a tree killing the driver and his kids who were eating burgers and fries and watching TV. Musk and the others cannot use the Steve Jobs marketing system because most people still don't understand things like "beta".
    :rant:
     
  20. Oct 22, 2015 #80 of 663
    Stewart Vernon

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    We have automated manufacturing lines that can't consistently manufacture parts without error. I got a big bag of Tootsie Rolls the other day and several of them were incorrectly wrapped with wrappers that were cut significantly off-center. I also bought a pack of Ramen noodles recently and the seasoning packages inside all of them were miscut... a couple were so bad that the perforation was in the middle in the package and the seasoning had spilled out already inside with the noodles!

    I mention these because... this is stuff that has been around longer than I have been alive. Competent people would not make these manufacturing errors OR if they did accidentally miscut something, they could make sure those didn't end up in the shipping boxes to customers. The computers and automated manufacturing lines clearly can't manage this to perfection... so imperfections go through.

    So, we have multiple levels of problems with the automated cars.

    1. People are designing and programming them.
    2. People are designing and constructing the machines that will produce the components used to assemble them.
    3. People are testing them.
    4. People will be maintaining them once they are in service.

    Even if you assume the design and programming are flawless, there are so many other opportunities to introduce problems along the way... then there's wear and how will the same car perform after it has been on the road a while and it's mechanicals are functioning differently than spec-design says?

    And as we have noted... I do not want liability if I'm not the driver. The manufacturer isn't going to want liability if their car isn't in complete control, and even then they are going to look for ways to say "the driver should have seen a dangerous situation and took steps to avoid it" and since we know there will be an accident at some point, that will be a fun day in court for those involved.

    Trains have fixed paths (they must stay on the track) so there is less opportunity for error, and yet trains do sometimes jump tracks and the computer scheduling and shared tracks does allow for the potential for scheduling conflicts when all doesn't go to perfection. Cars are going to be a very tricky thing to make completely self-driving in a way that works, is safe, and becomes accepted by everyone. Also, what about all the people who love to drive for fun? If they aren't driving, where's their fun?
     

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